Part VII: The Dark Princess
Elmeida’s voice was the only thing that was syeady, while everything around Yor changed.
“I was born in the Kingdom of Cordelia,” she began, “where my father was from.”
The scene around them became clearer now and Yor could see a couple in between him and Elmeida. The woman looked to be a splitting image of her, with the same reddish-brown hair, so he assumed it was her mother; the man was leaner and taller. They were both smiling in his direction. Yor had to remind himself that they were just a figment of Elmeida’s imagination.
“My mother was from the small island in the Far West called Jermis. We did go there on vacation for some time, to visit her parents, but when the Germain of Jermis, Aaron III, was overthrown, we had to stop going there, for they began prosecuting…”
At this point, the scene of Elmeida’s parents faded away and he could see that her face took on a darker, sadder expression.
“Well, we simply could not go there again. My grandparents were killed in the civil war that was followed by the military taking over of the government.”
A moment of silence followed this revelation. Yor took this opportunity to digest all that he was told. A wave of anxiety crossed him and he began to feel scared. He didn’t know why, though, until he looked at her again. That was when he realised that he was feeling everything she was. Elmeida had a faraway look in her eyes and didn’t seem like she was on the same page as he. He was curious to learn more, but he was patient enough to give her her time.
When she did not say anything for a long time afterwards, Yor decided to speak up:
“Something bad happened on your way here, didn’t it?” he asked her, gently. “In fact… if I understand correctly, it was the very reason for your arrival here.”
At this, he could see that he had struck a chord in her heart. When she focussed her eyes on him, Elmeida looked as if she was going to explode in anger, but no words came out of her mouth.
He spoke more quietly this time: “What is the matter, Elmeida? You can tell me. I shan’t make light of the matter, I promise. And besides, you need to take down that burden some time. It better be sooner than later. Don’t you think so?”
Now Elmeida frowned at him, confusion smeared all over her face.
“How did I know?” he asked her. When she nodded, he added, “Your face, Elmeida, is like an open book and written in a language that’s easy to read.”
She nodded in acknowledgement. “All right,” she whispered quielty, after a momentary silence. She took in a deep breath and let it out.
Yor waited patiently for her speak again. He knew from experience that it was not easy to talk about a damaged childhood.
“Well, my mother was the Dark Queen and it seems to have passed on to me.”
Now, it all became clear to Yor.
“So, that’s how you can do all this,” he gasped at his own discovery. “You are the Dark Princess!”
Elmeida smiled wanly as she shrugged. “Not really. I mean, my mother never actually declared an heir to the throne of the Dark Queen, so I don’t know if I am her successor.”
“So, you have siblings?”
“Indeed – a sister and a brother, both younger than me. It could go to any of them, but I think it usually goes to the female offspring.”
“So, it could be you or your sister?”
Elmeida, he could see even from the distance, were close to tears. Her trembling voice confirmed it for him:
“What happened to your family, Elmeida? Where are they now? Why are you here?”
At this point, Elmeida’s knees gave way under her and she collapsed onto the Dark floor, which looked invisible to him. Indeed, when he thought about it, he did feel like he was standing on something stable.
Now, he rushed to her side, in spite of the voice screaming in his head not to. He knelt beside her and put a tentative hand on her shoulder.
“Are you all right?” he asked in a gentle voice. “I’m sorry I made you speak when you clearly weren’t ready to.”
Elmeida shook her head. “N-no, that’s – all right,” she gasped. When she finally looked up at him, he could see the tears flowing freely down her eyes.
Yor hugged her out of sheer impulse. He could feel her relaxing against his chest and her trembling eventually stopped. They stayed like for a while.
“Well, there is a tribe in the Kingdom of Jermis,” Elmeida began once more, “whose inhabitants have some amount of Darkness inherent in them. This has been passing on for generations for time immemorial. This Darkness is to counter the Light and balance both equally. It had to be tethered to a human being.”
Yor released her at this point and stepped back.
“I’ve heard about that,” he remarked. “The Dark tribe Morgan, isn’t it?
Elmeida nodded. “Named after our founder, Morgana.”
“Well, do go on.”
Now, the scene changed to what looked to be a battlefield with a vast amount of death and destruction.
“After the Great War with Chaos,” Elmeida went on, “my ancestor, by the name Salavador, offered to consume his Darkness, shortly before Lady Celia and Master Merlin vanished from the face of Sahara. Salavador was then the Dark Prince. He later succeeded his mother, and was named the first Dark King in the history of the Morgans. Upon Salavador’s death, his son, Alandor, inherited the Darkness.
“That was about five hundred years ago, as I’m sure you’re aware. And now, my Mama inherited the Darkness and was called the Dark Queen. However, unlike her ancestors, she was never able to fully conquer her Darkness and so, finding Papa was the best thing that seemed to have happened to her, because he was the only one who could help contain it.
“Then, I was born out of their love and after me, my sister and brother. Like I said, we used to visit Jermis, Mama’s old home. But, we had to stop visiting when I was scarcely nine; that was the year when my grandparents were killed. You see, the military there fears my kind, the line that tethers the Darkness. The belief is that once we agree to do it, we are tainted for life. That means, once Salavador had agreed to tether the Darkness, he had doomed the lives of his descendants.”
“But, that isn’t the truth. Merlin made sure that when Salavador decided to transfer the Darkness to somebody else to carry on the tradition, it would be transferred without leaving behind anything in the body of the person it was tethered to before.”
Now, Yor could see what looked like a big rounded object between him and Elmeida. It was all black. He stared at it in fascination.
“Merlin compressed it into a ball of Dark Magic, so that transferring it would become easy and no one else but Salavador would be affected by it.” The image of the ball vanished.
Yor had been listening intently and patiently as Elmeida spoke. By now, he was sure beyond doubt that the face he had seen in the well, in the dream he had had for a week now, belonged to this very girl.
“And since our trive has been carrying Dark Magic over the generations Since the Time of Morgana, it was not too difficult to control. There were some who were weaker than the Chaos’ Darkness, like my mother, but they all eventually found ways to control it.”
His forehead creased slightly, indicating confusion. “I don’t quite follow you,” he said. “You say that you’re the most feared tribe. Is it only in the Kingdom of Jermis or all over Sahara?”
Elmeida shrugged. “Only by the military of Jermis, as a matter of fact. Even the common Jermians treat us like normal people. In fact, we are treated fairly by every person on Sahara, except the Jermis military. To the rest, we’re just normal mortals.”
Yor’s gaze penetrated into hers. “Are you?”
Her eyes widened then, a clear indication that she had never been asked such a question before.
“I honestly never tried to know,” she responded, when her tongue finally began to work again. “I never even thought about it!”
He nodded in understanding. “And what of your family? Where are they now?”
Elmeida’s face took on an angry note at first, before it dissolved into a pleasant, rather sad smile. “Your wits are quite sharp, ain’t they?”
He grinned. “I should say they are.”
“Oh well.” She gulped, as her eyes became distant once more. “Well, they… they were killed the day before I reached here.”